To make her signature dish, moun prahok khnop, Angkor Restaurant’s chef, Kimhuor Tieng, starts with prahok, a potent fermented fish paste that many consider the cornerstone of Cambodian cuisine. She blends the paste with chicken, ground pork, and sweet lemongrass and grills the meaty bundle in a banana leaf. Moun prahok khnop is one of many Cambodian dishes inspired by the chef’s own family recipes. Others include fragrant seafood soups and stews and luc lac––pan-fried beef cubes in lime sauce. She elegantly plates her entrees, accenting them with sprigs of basil and vegetables carved into intricate flower blossoms and table numbers. “She loves to cook. She has a great eye for presentation,” says Angkor Restaurant owner Ly Choing.
Mr. Choing says that he opened Angkor Restaurant as a way to share his culture with fellow Philadelphians. That mission plays out not just in the authentic food, but also in the dining room itself; a cheerful red trim borders the perimeter, framing large canvas murals that Mr. Choing imported from Cambodia.